Wellington | An inconsistent South Africa will be looking to pull up a few loose strings against minnows UAE in their final Pool B encounter of the ICC Cricket World, here tomorrow.
The AB de Villiers-led side, which was shocked by Pakistan in its previous encounter, have had a mixed run in the tournament so far and are lying on the second spot behind leaders India.
De Villiers though was in a bullish mood before their final pool match and insisted that despite losing to India and Pakistan, the Proteas are still the best in this edition.
It’s all positive from here on in, I still feel very confident. I believe 100 percent we’re the best team in the tournament, De Villiers said.
Those two losses in the group stages did hurt us a bit and did hurt me a bit, but we’re past that now. We know we’re a few games away from taking that World Cup home, he added with confidence.
Even though playing against a minnow nation may lure a top side to test his bench strength, De Villiers is wary of tinkering with his playing eleven.
It’s a difficult one, you don’t want to mess around too much with your best possible 11, keeping in mind that all 15 need to play somewhere along the line in the World Cup, he said.
The UAE tie is a must-win for the Proteas if they want to seal their second spot in the group, setting up a likely clash against Sri Lanka.
UAE, who are playing their second World Cup after the 1996 edition, have been winless in their four outings so far but captain Mohammed Tauqir believes that South Africa’s 29-run loss to Pakistan gave the minnows a glimmer of hope against the big guns.
We were not expecting South Africa to lose against Pakistan, so it’s a funny game. It gave us a bit of hope, Tauqir said.
We have good bowling and fielding. If we take some early wickets they can be put under pressure. I don’t see them scoring 400 runs against us, he added.
Lying at the bottom of the heap, UAE sure want to make a point if not for them then for all the associate nations, who are in danger of losing their World Cup berths in the next editions.
Tauqir has urged the ICC to review its decision to cut the number of teams at the World Cup from 14 to 10 in 2019.
That’s not good news for our cricket… the World Cup is an ultimate goal, to participate in this event, he said.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn
UAE: Mohammed Tauqir (captain), Amjad Ali, Amjad Javed, Andri Berenger, Fahad Alhashmi, Asanka Guruge, Khurram Khan, Kamran Shehzad, Krishna Chandran, Mohammed Naveed, Nasir Aziz, Swapnil Patil, Shaiman Anwar, Rohan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider.
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